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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2004

Bowling Green man pleads guilty in plot to have his wife killed

BOWLING GREEN - A local man has pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man to kill his estranged wife.

Michael Coyer, 39, pleaded guilty late Friday in Wood County Common Pleas Court to one count of conspiracy to commit murder, a first-degree felony. His case had been scheduled to go to trial yesterday.

Wood County Prosecutor Ray Fischer said the charge carries a sentence of 3 to 10 years in prison, but as part of a plea agreement, the prosecutor's office will recommend Coyer receive a seven-year prison term when he is sentenced Oct. 4 by Judge Robert Pollex.

Coyer was indicted on the charge in March. At that time, Bowling Green police said Coyer had met with an undercover officer at a downtown bar Feb. 27 and offered him $500 to kill his then-wife, Kimberly D. Howell. According to the indictment, Coyer gave the officer $80 as a down payment with the rest to come after he finished the job.

Coyer and Ms. Howell had married Nov. 17, 2003, and separated Jan. 4, 2004, according to court records. A divorce decree, citing incompatibility as grounds, was finalized July 22 in common pleas court.

Coyer, who has been held in the Wood County jail since his arrest, once served as president of the Wood County Historical Society and was an active volunteer at the historical center.

His attorney, Christopher Zografides, declined to comment on the case until his client is sentenced.

"There will be a lot that comes out at sentencing as to the whole situation," he said.

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